Kerry Bystrom

Associate Dean

Prof. Dr. Kerry Bystrom earned a BA, summa cum laude, in English/Creative Writing and Government from Dartmouth College (1999) and a PhD in English from Princeton University (2007). Awards for her doctoral research on cultural responses to dictatorship in Latin America and apartheid in South Africa include Princeton’s Charlotte Elizabeth Proctor Honorific Fellowship and an International Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council (USA). Before arriving at Bard College Berlin in 2012, she taught at Princeton University, Bard College, the University of the Witwatersrand, and the University of Connecticut, where she was also director of the Research Program on Humanitarianism at the Human Rights Institute. She teaches at the intersection of aesthetics and politics, and on topics ranging from postcolonial studies (theory, literature, performance and visual art) and African and world literature to trauma and memory studies, human rights, and humanitarianism.

Courses offered at Bard College Berlin

Critical Human Rights and Humanitarian Advocacy/ Scholars At Risk (Spring 2018)
Scholars at Risk (Spring 2017)
Global Citizenship (Fall 2016, Fall 2017)
Global Cold War Literatures (Fall 2015)
Fictions of Justice: Literature, Truth Commissions, and International Criminal Law
(Spring 2015)
Postcolonial Literature and Theory (Spring 2014)
Home and Exile - Studies and Literature and Human Rights (Fall 2013)
Introduction to Human Rights (Fall 2012)

Research

Bystrom is the author of the monograph Democracy at Home: Family Fictions and Transitional Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and has published numerous articles and book chapters in venues such as the Journal of Southern African Studies, Social Dynamics Humanity, and Interventions. She is co-editor with Glenn Mitoma of a special issue of the Journal of Human Rights on “Humanitarianism and Responsibility” (March 2013) and also with Sarah Nuttall of a special issue of Cultural Studies on "Private Lives and Public Cultures in South Africa" (Summer 2013). On-going research projects include Cold War relationships between Southern Africa and Latin America; the idea of the "South Atlantic"; global constructions of children’s rights and particularly the right to identity; and visions of global solidarity and humanitarian crisis in literature, performance, and new media.    

Publications (selected)

Democracy at Home in South Africa: Family Fictions and Transitional Culture New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

“Humanitarianism, Responsibility, Links, Knots,” forthcoming in Interventions

“Humanitarianism and Responsibility in Discourse and Practice,” co-authored with Glenn Mitoma, in Human Rights Protection and Global Responsibilities: States and Non-State Actors, ed. Kurt Mills and David J. Karp, Palgrave Macmillan [New York], 2015

“Literature, Remediation, Remedy (The Case of Transitional Justice),” Comparative Literature 66 (1), 2014, pp. 25-34

 “Stolen Children, Identity Rights and Rhetoric (Argentina, 1983-2012)," co-authored with Brenda Werth, Jac: A Journal of Rhetoric, Culture and Politics 33.3–4 (2013), pp. 425-453

“Johannesburg Interiors,” Cultural Studies 27 (3), 2013, pp. 333-356

“Private Lives and Public Cultures,” co-authored with Sarah Nuttall, Cultural Studies 27 (3), 2013, pp. 307-332

“Writing Roots in post-apartheid South Africa,” Safundi 14 (1), 2013, pp. 17-36

“Broadway without Borders: Eve Ensler, Lynn Nottage, and Humanitarian Campaigns to End Sexual Violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” in Imagining Human Rights in Twenty-first Century Theater: Global Perspectives, ed. Florian Becker, Paola Hernández and Brenda Werth, Palgrave MacMillan [New York], 2013.

“Reading the South Atlantic: South Africa, Chile, the Cold War, and Mark Behr’s The Smell of Apples,” African Studies 71 (1), 2012, pp. 1-18

“On ‘humanitarian’ adoption (Madonna in Malawi),” Humanity 2 (2), 2011, pp. 213-231

“Literature and Human Rights,” in The Routledge Handbook of Human Rights, ed. Thomas Cushman, Routledge [London], 2011, pp. 637-646

“Culture and Politics After Apartheid: Views from the Market Theatre. An Interview with Malcolm Purkey,” Safundi 11 (3), 2010, pp. 201-213 (peer-edited extended interview)

 “The Public Private Sphere: Family Narrative and Democracy in Argentina and South Africa,”Social Dynamics 36 (1), 2010, pp. 139-152

“South Africa, the USA, and the Globalization of Truth and Reconciliation: Itinerant Mourning in Zakes Mda’s Cion,” Safundi 10 (4), 2009, pp. 397-417

“The DNA of the Democratic South Africa: Ancestral Maps, Family Trees, Genealogical Fictions,” Journal of Southern African Studies 35 (1), 2009, pp. 223-235

“The Politics of Subjectivity: Notes on 21st-century Argentine Documentary Film,” in Rethinking Third Cinema: The Role of Anti-colonial Media and Aesthetics in Postmodernity, ed. Frieda Ekotto and Adeline Koh, intr. Simon Gikandi, LIT Verlag [Berlin], 2009, pp. 31-51